Right before my marathon, I attended a talk by Sarah Cuff who is a marathoner, nutritionist, and founder of Eat2Run. She gave an overview of how to properly fuel your body during training as well as some guidelines on pre-race nutrition. She told us about her struggles to finish a sub-4 hour marathon and how a change in her diet allowed her to achieve her goal.
At this point I was less than a week away from my marathon and it was too late to make any changes to how I was eating. I did, however, resolve to try her KickStart Cleanse after my marathon was over. The cleanse consists of eating a specific meal plan of plant-based whole foods for 5 days and involves cutting out gluten, dairy, meat, eggs, soy, grains, legumes, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. The information can be purchased from the Eat2Run website for $47 and includes pre-cleanse guidelines, 5-day KickStart Cleanse guidelines, meal plans, recipes, a grocery list, an athletes option, and post-cleanse guidelines.
I ended up getting a cold the weekend after my marathon and taking a couple days off work the following week. Since I was sick and at home, I wasn’t having my morning (or afternoon) coffee so I decided that was a good time to start the pre-cleanse. During this time I stocked up on all the groceries that I would need for the 5-day cleanse. My fridge was brimming with fruits and vegetables!
On the morning of Wednesday, May 20, I woke up and officially began my cleanse! Although the recipes are simple and easy to follow, it was a quite time consuming to prepare the food: washing and cutting vegetables, making salad dressings and veggie dips, storing portions for lunches or snacks. I find that it is so easy to get into the habit of eating out or grabbing something quick to eat but that I appreciate the food way more when I’ve gone to the effort of preparing it myself.
I really enjoyed the recipes and I never felt depraved during the cleanse. I was actually surprised at how much food I was instructed to eat. I did find that the first couple days I would have strong cravings for snack foods when I arrived home from work. My body was crying out for bread and tortilla chips but I refused to give in. Each day, the cravings lessened each day and on the fourth day I went to a pub with some friends who all ordered and ate delicious food right in front of me. I prepared myself by drinking a big smoothie on the drive there so at least I wouldn’t be hungry.
My main goal of the cleanse was to reset my system. I had gained a few pounds during marathon training (yes, it is not uncommon to gain weight while training for a marathon), I had gotten into a habit of eating whatever was quick and easy in between work and runs, and I was drinking too much coffee. Each morning I weighed myself and the progress I saw helped motivate me to continue. After the 5 days I lost approximately 4 pounds and was back to my pre-marathon weight. I also felt less lighter, less bloated, and very healthy.
Although it was difficult at times I enjoyed the whole process and, of course, the results of the cleanse. I recommend checking out the website Eat2Run.com and seeing if the KickStart Cleanse is for you. There are also lots of informative blog posts on nutrition and delicious recipes available for free!